(4/5) romantic comedy
Golden Globe nominated Legally Blonde (2001) introduced me to two of my favourite (and two of the prettiest) contemporary actresses, Reese Witherspoon and Selma Blair. Despite its quirkiness, I laughed a lot and really it (it’s sequel Legally Blonde 2 (2003) – not so much). I saw it at the cinema when it first came out, again on DVD a few years ago and was happy to watch it once again when it was broadcast in HD on abc this evening.
In Legally Blonde (2001), after being dumped by her Harvard Law-bound boyfriend (Warren), fashion merchandising major Elle Woods (Reese) (with a 4.0 GPA) decides to make an unlikely application to Harvard Law School to impress upon him that she is marriage material. While very blonde (Reese sports some 40 different hairstyles in the film), Elle’s definitely not dumb!
I enjoyed Reese so much in Legally Blonde, back in 2001, that I’ve since gone back and watched almost all of Reese’s other work. While most of her other movies are just average, Reese is always compelling and enjoyable to watch. And, she was spectacular in Walk the Line (2005) with Joaquin Phoenix. Legally Blonde and Walk the Line are her best so far.
Luke Wilson plays pretty much the same enjoyable nice-guy character as he plays in every movie. Selma Blair plays a rival for Warren’s affections. The movie tries to portray Selma as frumpy – an impossible task given her natural beauty.
It was a pleasant surprise to see both Ali Larter as the defendant and Linda Cardellini (under all that hair) as the daughter of the deceased. I didn’t know either of them when I first watched Legally Blonde. Both have since become famous: Ali Larter plays Niki Sanders on the hit TV series Heroes and Linda Cardellini plays nurse Samantha Taggart on ER.
My favourite line of the film occurs when an astonished Warren asks Elle “You got into Harvard law?” Elle responds “What, like its hard?” Another notable laugh occurs when another student refers to a spa as Elle’s ‘mother ship’ .
Legally Blonde does not rank in the pantheon of my all-time favourite romantic comedies (such as The Goodbye Girl (1977), Annie Hall (1977) and When Harry Met Sally… (1989)). But it his high in my romantic comedy rankings. It’s a very good, funny and light-hearted movie. Even on my third viewing I laughed throughout. Roger Ebert summed it up nicely:
Legally Blonde is a featherweight comedy balanced between silliness and charm. It is impossible to dislike…